Air Toxics


In 1985 a three part study was begun to define the (1) nature and extent of emissions of toxic pollutants, (2) sources of those pollutants, and (3) develop air toxic control regulations for the State of North Carolina. The study revealed that the toxic air pollution problem in the state was significant and the emissions were coming from several thousand point sources. A list of 80 chemicals, called toxic air pollutants or TAPs, was comprised and Acceptable Ambient Levels were determined for each one by an expert panel from the North Carolina Academy of Sciences. Members of this panel included experts in pulmonary and occupational medicine, epidemiology, toxicology, and policy analysis. The panel recommended proposed regulation where any facility that emitted a toxic air pollutant would require an air permit, unless exempted. New facilities would be required to obtain a permit prior to construction. The regulations are in Chapter 2 Title 15A of the NC Administrative Code. The panel also recommended the development of a Scientific Advisor Board (SAB) on toxic air pollutants, which was established in 1990.


Executive Order 86 —March 2, 1989 - Governor Jim Martin signed an Executive Order “urging the N.C. Environmental Management Commission to expedite the development and implementation of rules to control emissions of toxic air pollutants and to set ambient air standards for toxic pollutants”. North Carolina was ahead of the federal government in enacting regulations for air toxic pollutants, as the US EPA did not include toxic pollutants in the Clean Air Act until the 1990 amendment. The US EPA included 189 hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) in Title III of the 1990 CAAA.

House Bill 898—In 1995 the General Assembly directed the NC Division of Air Quality (the agency) to review the NC air pollutant control program and the 1990 CAAA for duplications or overlap and to provide ways to reduce any overlap. The results of the study suggested changes to the air toxics rules specifically exempting facilities that comply with US EPA standards from the toxics program.

House Bill 952—In 2011 the General Assembly again directed the agency to review the states air toxics program “to determine whether changes could be made to the rules or their implementation to reduce unnecessary regulatory burden and increase the efficient use of Division resources while maintaining protection of public health”. The resulting reports can be found here: ADD LINK TO REPORTS PAGE


Legislative Study Reports